About In the Zone

Five years ago, the University of Western Australia established In the Zone. This forum for business, policymakers and researchers – which launched in November 2009 with Crisis, Opportunity and the New World Order ­– provided a means for leaders to grapple with the massive economic and strategic transformations occurring in our time zone. In the five years since that inaugural conference, much has happened.

Some of these events were predictable: the transfer of global wealth to Asia and the changing balance of power that entailed; the rise of Australia as a premier destination for higher education, with more than six per cent of the global population of international students.

In the Zone has provided business and policymakers with the opportunity to lift their gaze to the demands of the twenty-first century.

Other events were far from predictable. The global financial crisis had not struck when In the Zone was conceived. Important changes to economic policy in Asia were only just emerging. The push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership had barely begun.

Western Australia is the gateway to the Indo-Pacific. As the nation’s regional capital, Perth watches the future unfold from a fascinating vantage point. This presents our economy and society with profound opportunities for cultural enrichment and increased prosperity.

In fast-moving times, it is difficult for leaders to keep the pulse of circumstances, to reach beyond the headlines and consider the deeper forces driving events. Over the years, In the Zone has provided business and policymakers with the opportunity to lift their gaze to the demands of the twenty-first century.

The outstanding group of thinkers and scholars that came together for this year’s forum, In the Zone: Capital ideas for the twenty-first century, examined Australia’s place in the region, how we engage with our nearest neighbours and our opportunities for the future. In 2015, In the Zone travelled to Asia for the first time as part of its Venture Asia series.

Each of the esteemed speakers brought a unique perspective on the future of the region and its current issues and challenges, and provided an invaluable external perspective on how Australia is perceived. Some of the answers to the challenges we pondered are simple. Others are far more complex and will require further thought, discussion and consultation.

The 2015 edition of Smart Power – a publication investigating the presence and potential of smart power in the Indo-Pacific region – was launched. Smart Power: prosperity, persuasion and projection in the Zone was created by Knowledge Society with funding from the Perth USAsia Centre.

In the Zone’s ambition is for everyone to benefit from a deeper insight into the changing contours of power, prosperity and opportunity in Indo-Pacific Asia. In the spirit of the University of Western Australia’s motto – seek wisdom – bringing together the region’s thinkers and leaders and thinkers contributes insight to those whose judgement will shape our economic and security future.

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Redefining the Asian century: In the Zone 2009–14

"I am confident that in the coming decades the city of Perth will grow in importance as a centre of business, educational and technological excellence in the region. This State will also continue to develop as the epicentre of a global resource and mineral supply economy delivering the growth that has seen an economic power shift to the Asian and Indian Ocean regions." Michael Chaney
Chancellor, The University of Western Australia